Upper-Limb Orthosis

The Development of an Upper-Limb Orthosis for Paralysis Following Stroke

The CIM is developing an upper-limb actuated orthosis to assist individuals suffering partial, or complete, paralysis of one arm following stroke. Many stroke victims suffer from upper-limb motor deficit following stroke. While therapy and time often allow most stroke victims to regain limb function, many are left with a non-functioning arm that either hangs uselessly or is supported in a position of comfort by splints and braces. It is the goal of the hand orthosis project to produce an upper-limb device that enables engagement in the activities of daily living that are bimanual (requiring two hands) in nature. Examples of such tasks include opening large jars, carrying two-handed baskets and trays (laundry baskets, food trays, etc.), restraining items to a surface with one hand while performing work on the item with the unaffected hand (e.g. cutting of fruits and vegetables), and carrying smaller objects (grocery bags, water bottle, phone, etc.), in order to leave the unaffected limb free to perform fine motor tasks (e.g. unlocking a door, dialing a cell phone).

This project uses many of the component architectures developed for the Vanderbilt hand prosthetic to create a robust and lightweight platform from proven technology. Additionally, we have leveraged state of the art rapid prototyping methods to create the major structural components – resulting in an elegant minimalist design that can be adapted quickly as research progresses.



  • Design and Performance Characterization of a Hand Orthosis Prototype to Aid Activities of Daily Living in a Post-Stroke Population, B. W. Gasser and M. Goldfarb, IEEE International Conference of Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, August 2015, Pending Publication.